Mordecai Cubitt Cooke (12 July 1825, in Horning, Norfolk – 12 November 1914, in Southsea, Hampshire) was an English botanist and mycologist who was, at various points, a London schoolteacher, a Kew mycologist, curator at the India Museum, journalist and author, . Cooke was the elder brother of the art-education reformer Ebenezer Cooke (1837–1913) and father of the book illustrator and watercolour painter William Cubitt Cooke (1866–1951).
Cooke, from a mercantile family in Horning, Norfolk, was apprenticed to a fabric merchant before becoming a clerk in a law firm, but his chief interest was botany. He founded the Society of Amateur Botanists in 1862 while teaching natural history at Holy Trinity National School, Lambeth, and working as a curator at the India Museum at India Office from 1860. In 1879, when the botanical materials in the India Museum were moved to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Cooke went with them. He received a Victoria Medal of Honour from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1902 and a Linnean Medal from the Linnean Society of London in 1903. He claimed to have gained several honorary diplomas for his work, mainly with fungi: MAs from St. Lawrence University in 1870 and Yale University in 1873, and a doctorate from New York University though these claims are disputed. Cooke's life and work are comprehensively documented in a biography by distant relative Mary P. English.
Cooke joined Edward Step (1855–1931) in publishing the magazine Hardwicke's Science-Gossip: A Monthly Medium of Interchange and Gossip for Students and Lovers of Nature from 1865 to 1893. From 1872 to 1894 Cooke also edited Grevillea, a monthly record of cryptogamic botany and its literature, a periodical devoted to mycology. He was a founder of the Quekett Microscopical Club in 1865, in response to a request in Science-Gossip, and a founding member of the British Mycological Society.
It has been suggested that Cooke's description of the perceived distortions of the size of objects while intoxicated by the fungus Amanita muscaria (commonly known as the fly agaric or fly amanita), in his books The Seven Sisters of Sleep and A Plain and Easy Account of British Fungi, inspired the passage in Lewis Carroll's 1865 popular children's storybook Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, where Alice grows or shrinks on eating parts of the mushroom. (The effects were later termed Alice in Wonderland syndrome.)
- The Seven Sisters of Sleep. Popular history of the seven prevailing narcotics of the world (James Blackwood, London, 1860)
- A Manual of Structural Botany: for the use of classes, schools, & private students... with upwards of 200 illustrations by Ruffle (Robert Hardwicke, London, 1861, new edition 1877)
- A Manual of Botanic Terms... with illustrations (Robert Hardwicke, London, 1862, new edition 1873)
- A Plain and Easy Account of British Fungi: with descriptions of the esculent and poisonous species... With twenty-four coloured plates (Robert Hardwicke, London, 1862, new editions 1866 and 1876, 5th edition 1884, 6th edition 1898)
- Index Fungorum Britannicorum. A complete list of fungi found in the British Islands to the present date, etc. (Robert Hardwicke, London, 1863)
- Our Reptiles. A plain and easy account of the lizards, snakes, newts, toads, frogs, and tortoises indigenous to Britain. With original figures of every species, and numerous woodcuts (Robert Hardwicke, London, 1865, new edition 1893, W. H. Allen & Co., London)
- Rust, smut, mildew, & mould. An introduction to the study of microscopic fungi (Robert Hardwicke, London, 1865, new edition 1870, new edition 1878, new edition 1886)
- A Fern Book for Everybody. Containing all the British ferns. With the foreign species suitable for a fernery (Robert Hardwicke, London, 1867)
- One Thousand Objects for the Microscope, etc. (Robert Hardwicke, London, 1869, new editions 1895 and 1900, Frederickk Warne & Co., London/New York)
- Handbook of British Fungi, with full descriptions of all the species and illustrations of the genera (2 vols, Macmillan & Co., London/New York, 1871, new edition 1883)
- Report on the Gums, Resins, Oleo-Resins, and Resinous Products in the India Museum, or produced in India. Prepared under the direction of the Reporter on the Products of India (London, 1874)
- Fungi: their nature, influence, and uses (London, 1875, 3rd edition 1883, 5th edition 1894, new edition 1920 K. Paul)
- Report on the Oil Seeds and Oils in the India Museum, or produced in India. Prepared under the direction of the Reporter on the Products of India (London, 1876)
- The Myxomycetes of Great Britain, translated from the Polish of J. T. Rostafinski (London, 1877)
- Clavis Synoptica Hymenomycetum Europaeorum, with L. Quelet (London, 1878)
- The Woodlands (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London, 1879)
- Mycographia, seu Icones fungorum. Figures of fungi from all parts of the world, drawn and illustrated by M. C. Cooke (Williams & Norgate, London, 1875 and 1879)
- Ponds and Ditches (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London, 1880)
- Freaks and Marvels of Plant Life; or, Curiosities of vegetation (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London, 1881)
- Illustrations of British Fungi... To serve as an atlas to the "Handbook of British Fungi" (8 vols, Williams & Norgate, London, 1881–1891)
- British Fresh-Water Algae. Exclusive of Desmidieæ and Diatomaceæ, etc. (2 vols, Williams & Norgate, London, 1882–1884)
- Fungi Australianai, reprinted from Grevillea (Melbourne, 1883)
- British Desmids. A supplement to British Fresh-Water Algae, etc. (Williams & Norgate, London, 1887)
- Toilers in the Sea. A study of marine life (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London, 1889)
- Introduction to Fresh-Water Algae with an enumeration of all the British species ... With thirteen plates, etc. (London, 1890)
- British Edible Fungi: how to distinguish and how to cook them, etc. (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., London, 1891)
- Handbook of Australian Fungi (London, 1892)
- Vegetable Wasps and Plant Worms. A popular history of entomogeneous fungi or fungi parasitic upon insects... with... illustrations (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London, 1892)
- Romance of Low Life amongst Plants. Facts and phenomena of cryptogamic vegetation (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London, 1893)
- Handbook of British Hepaticae, etc. (W. H. Allen & Co., London, 1894)
- Edible and Poisonous Mushrooms (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London, 1894, re-edited 1902)
- Down the Lane and back, in search of wild flowers. By Uncle Matt (T. Nelson & Sons, London, 1895)
- Through the Copse. Another ramble after flowers with Uncle Matt (T. Nelson & Sons, London, 1895)
- Around a Cornfield, in a ramble after wild flowers. By Uncle Matt (T. Nelson & Sons, London, 1895)
- Across the Common, after wild flowers. By Uncle Matt (T. Nelson & Sons, London, 1895)
- A Stroll on a Marsh, in search of wild flowers. By Uncle Matt (T. Nelson & Sons, London, 1895)
- Introduction to the Study of Fungi: their organography, classification, and distribution. For the use of collectors (Adam & Charles Black, London, 1895)
- Object-Lesson Handbooks to accompany the Royal Portfolio of Pictures and Diagrams (T. Nelson & Sons, London, 1897–1898)
- Introduction to Fresh-Water Algae (K. Paul, London, 1902)
- Fungoid Pests of Cultivated Plants (Spottiswoode & Co., London, 1906)
- Catalogue and Field-Book of British Basidiomycetes up to and Inclusive of the Year 1908 (London, 1909)
- Mary P. English (1987), Mordecai Cubitt Cooke: Victorian naturalist, mycologist, teacher & eccentric. Biopress, Bristol, ISBN 0-948737-02-6]
- Taylor, George (17 March 1988). "Review: Mordecai Cubitt Cooke by Mary English". New Scientist. p. 62.
- "Cooke, Mordecai Cubitt". Who's Who. Vol. 59. 1907. p. 377.
- "Cooke, William Cubitt". Who's Who. Vol. 59. 1907. p. 378. William Cubitt Cooke (1866–1951), was a book illustrator and watercolour painter, who exhibited at the RBA, the RI and the RA.
- Letcher, Andy (2006). Shroom: A Cultural history of the magic mushroom. London: Faber and Faber. pp. 123, 127. ISBN 978-0-571-22770-9.
- Hanson, Dirk (September 2014). "Eye on fiction: Heavenly and hellish - writers on hallucinogens". The Psychologist, the Monthly Publication of the British Psychological Society. 27: 680.
- Denison WC. (1967). Central American Pezizales. 2. Genus Cookeina. Mycologia 59(2): 306–.
- International Plant Names Index. Cooke.
- "Review of The Seven Sisters of Sleep. Popular History of the Seven Prevailing Narcotics of the World by M. C. Cooke". The Athenaeum (1702): 785–786. 9 June 1860.
- Desmond, Ray (25 February 1994). Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists and Horticulturists. CRC Press. ISBN 0-85066-843-3.